Almost three-quarters of Kenya’s population is under 30 years with 10.8 million people between the ages of 15-30 years. A lucrative demographic to market to, but one that is diverse and fast moving. Requiring campaigns to be tailored its needs; failure to which will leave you with holes in your pocket and nothing to show.
This young population, popularly referred to as Millennials in some circles, has been labelled time and time again as lazy, narcissistic, focused on money and image, with a tendency to move from job to job. This has been attributed to them being rewarded for mere participation leading to a sense of entitlement. On the other hand, they have also been observed to be open-minded, tech-savvy, self-expressive and more receptive to new ideas. It is paramount for each marketer to test these claims within their segment as they may vary depending on the backgrounds and the environments people have grown up in.
Companies doing it successfully
Safaricom has embraced market segmentation and launched their Blaze campaign to target youth between the age of 15-26, though this demographic is deemed to have low spending power the company observed that this age group had one million new sign-ups to mobile phone services within the last year, this is according to Charles Wanjohi, head of segmentation at Safaricom.
The Blaze movement includes a tariff with packages where subscribers can distribute their credit between internet bundles, calling and SMS depending on what they use most. Blaze also includes an entrepreneurship based reality T.V- BYOB show, a youth boot camp and devices tailored to the youth. Blaze capitalizes on the fact that its target market values qualities that include entrepreneurship, grit, perseverance and self-starting. “Since embarking on segmentation Safaricom’s customers have increased by 8% the highest in 5 years,” says Samuel Wanjohi, Safaricom head of segmentation.
Another company marketing successfully to young people is Nation Media through My Network-a pull out magazine in the Friday newspaper. This year I had a first-hand experience with one of their campaigns in JKUAT. They had set up base at a spot crisscrossed by many of students within the school. However, this usually doesn’t help much as I have countlessly seen students ignore tens of companies trying to engage them. This particular campaign was hard to ignore even if you tried to. They had set up a huge balloon-like dome where students could get in and play a game called laser tag, they had a DJ booth where you could get headphones and enjoy something they dubbed ‘silent disco’.There was also a professional photographer who took pictures under the promise that the best ones would feature in the upcoming issue of My Network.
The only catch was that one had to pay to enjoy all this, Ksh 210 to be exact (a large amount to a student). Despite the price tag, we paid because they over-delivered. The money earned you a months subscription to Daily Nation newspaper (Friday issue) delivered to you, a chance to be part of a raffle where you stood to win a phone, tablet, a weekend-long boot camp among other things. The gamblers, lovers of music, fame- lured by the prospect of appearing in the magazine, were for a variety of reasons, all captured in the web weaved by the clever marketers behind this campaign.
Marketing to a young population requires you to stay ahead of trends, provide memorable offline experiences that can be shared online, make people part of the creation process and build trust. This can include using young social media influencers trusted by their audience to push your message. Hopefully, with these examples in mind, we can improve how we target and market to the millions of young consumers in Kenya.